Fashion

Alexander McQueen Plato’s Atlantis – More Relevant Than Ever In 2021

Rebecca Hunt
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Alexander McQueen Plato’s Atlantis – what really happened there?

Late October 2009, and Alexander McQueen is preparing for another runway moment.

It is Plato’s Atlantis (SS 2010), one of the world’s most memorable shows that will crystallize the designer as a household name in the world of fashion.

The first to use paint shooting robots at a dress, for the Spring 1999 show, Alexander McQueen’s shows were ahead of the times.

Sadly, five months after the Plato’s Atlantis SS 2010 show, in February 2010, the acclaimed designer tragically passed away.

Alexander McQueen Fashion – Plato’s Atlantis

Alexander McQueen Fashion Plato Atlantis 2010

McQueen was hailed for the human chess show he repaired for the Spring 2005 event and for the Kate Moss holograms at the Fall 2006 edition. 

Alexander McQueen fashion shows are out of this world.

But, compared to all previous Alexander McQueen fashion shows, ‘Plato Atlantis’ SS 2010 remains the most prominent event ever.

The name Plato’s Atlantis was a clear reference to the legendary island that sank into the sea.

Beautifully described by the Greek philosopher, Alexander used it to prophesize a future world of melted ice caps, risen seas, and oceans.

The SS 10 Alexander McQueen fashion show had robot-mounted cameras and prosthetics that made the models look like aliens.

The collection drew further inspiration from reptiles and sea life, and it was the first-ever show to be live-stream on the internet.

Some of the most amazing creations presented at the ‘Plato’s Atlantis’ show were the shoes of 12-inch (30cm) heels, called by the critics the most “McQueen thing” the designer has ever made.

With unique, theatrical, almost grotesque shapes, these shoes eclipsed the entire Alexander McQueen fashion collection.

Here are three of the most representative shoes that have re-written the history of fashion.

Alexander McQueen – Plato’s Atlantis Alien Shoe

Alexander McQueen Fashion Plato Atlantis 2010 - the Alien shoe

McQueen’s Alien shoe was 3D printed from a special resin to give it a distinctive look.

Inspired by the artwork of H.R. Giger, a member of the special effects team for Ridley Scott’s Alien 1980 movie, the shoes look like a morphing of human and mechanical forms.

The biomorphic spine ‘snaking’ around the shoe’s heel and the sole makes a unique display of machine, human, and other biological things.

Alexander McQueen Fashion – Plato’s Atlantis Titanic Shoe

Alexander McQueen Fashion Plato Atlantis 2010 - the Titanic shoe

Symbolically called Titanic, the second choice of shoes from the Alexander McQueen fashion event is depicting an ocean liner’s metallic hull.

Some argue that the shoe’s appearance echoes the punched-hole fastening mechanism of Meccano, a toy construction system.

Further design references include the John McTiernan ‘Predator’ 1984 movie, which featured a lethal menace in the form of technologically advanced extraterrestrial life.




Nevertheless, by setting the cold intelligence of the machine in opposition to the beauty and fragility of human nature, McQueen’s Titanic shoe melds the human with the mechanical, lending the wearer some kind of superhuman powers.

Alexander McQueen Fashion – Plato’s Atlantis Armadillo Boot

Alexander McQueen Fashion Plato Atlantis 2010 - the Armadillo Boot

But from all Alexander McQueen fashion shoes, the 30 cm high ‘Armadillo’ boot remains McQueen’s most notable footwear creations.

Built on cues from nature while ‘disfiguring’ the human body, Armadillo exemplified to perfection the designer’s futuristic world.




Hand-carved from wood and 3D printed with precision, the Armadillo shoes resemble the graceful arch of a ballerina standing en pointe, or a hoof-like extension of the wearer’s body.

Alexander McQueen Fashion – Where Would He Be?

Alexander McQueen Fashion Plato Atlantis 2010 - models on the catwalk

models on the catwalk

Without a doubt, the year 2009 was an exciting time of transition for the fashion industry. Alexander McQueen’s fashion show has ushered the world of fashion into a new era.

A new era of the early days of the internet.

Times without Instagram or online fashion magazines, as even Vogue didn’t have a website.

Both, Instagram and Vogue, launched later in 2010.

Those were the times of emerging fashion bloggers – call them influencers nowadays.

But, by looking back at Alexander McQueen fashion and his fabulous creations we can’t stop to wonder where would he be now.

Look at what he has done ten years ago. Long before the emergence of the internet and 3D printing. Long before the world realized the sustainable issues we’re facing.

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Where would he be? Especially now, in the digital era, the fashion business continues to evolve. Would he launch 3D printed capsule collections?

Or maybe live-stream manufacturing be a mainstay of his brand?

Would he have adopted the emerging trend of augmented reality? Or digital avatars and computer-generated influencers such as Lil’ Miquela?

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